There’s a bit of a craze of hiding decorated rocks and stones for others to find and collect or re-hide, so….
Go Hunt Rocks!
As a doting dad, why would I not indulge my daughter in an activity that inspires creativity and requires getting outdoors for fresh air and exercise?!
She absolutely loved every aspect of it, from heading out to find the best rocks where she’d say things like “this one looks like a…” or “we could paint… on this one”, to painting them and discussing where she wanted to hide them. She was especially excited about one she’d painted yellow on one side and wants to hide on a sandy beach where it’ll be camouflaged.
How could anyone say no to that sort of excitement and use of imagination – when it’s so cheap and simple to implement?!
So without further ado…
What you need:
Go for a walk together to look for ‘pretty’ stones (or anything you can make into anything – like spotting faces etc. in the clouds). Take a rucksack – they get heavy in pockets!
Nail polish remover.
Er, look at some of mine? Or, check out the hashtag #rockhunting.
Get out and about!
Seriously, you can make a weekend of this – we did, and will again. Take yourself to the beach or for a walk in the woods or on the heath. You should have a good idea of where you could find a selection of stones and rocks.
Size wise you’re looking for something like the circle you make when you put your forefinger to your thumb – and bigger. This way there’s plenty of surface for their (and your) artistic creations.
Give them a rinse and leave them to dry so your paint has a nice clean surface to stick to.
Cover up – as these are oil based they will mark anything – permanently! Protect your clothes, surfaces, pets, carpets and of course children!
The pens may have a first use procedure – have a read of the box. Mine had to be shaken, then the nib pushed in while held vertical to release any excess air pressure, then pressed in again inverted to get the paint/ink to flow to the tip.
We each painted several stones – as you can see, we’ve got a unicorn, some whales, a ladybird… I’ve been asked to do a frog next time too, and more unicorns. You’ll see all sorts – words & phrases, fruit and vegetables, animals and insects… I’ve even seen a Rubik’s Cube!
This bit is really important though – we. Join in with your kids, don’t set them up to do an activity, do it with them. It will really work wonders for their self esteem and your bond with them. Plus, it’s fun!
The nail polish remover will clean any oil based marker paint that has made it onto little hands or other places it shouldn’t have. If the design hasn’t gone quite to plan, a cotton bud dipped in nail polish remover will serve as an eraser. Once dry again – repaint!
If you have the space and are so inclined, why not add the hashtag #DynamicDadRocks so you can share your pictures, hides and finds?
Leave your rocks to dry, they won’t take long (but the paint will mark anything it comes into contact with until it’s dry) and have a chat with your troops about where you’re going to hide them.
Consider joining a local group. Search your favourite social media for things like “RockHunting” and “[your local area] Rocks” where you can post your finds and hides for others to track & hunt.
As Bean and I enjoy Geocaching too, we took ourself out for the morning to find a few caches and to hide a few rocks. One cache had space for swapables – so we left a Daisy rock. We also left the Unicorn rock nearby.
Don’t hide them too well of course – the idea is that children the excitement and thrill of finding them, so think parks, near schools, supermarkets, the beach, etc. Anywhere you’d normally go with your kid and especially places they get to explore a little on their own. Imagine their faces when they come running to show you a rock they’ve found – with a picture on it!
These combined activities are a great way to encourage your kids outdoors and to promote their sense of adventure and imagination – creating, hiding and finding treasure.
As I write I’m sat in a supermarket car park on my way to the school’s sports day, and there are a few rocks in the boot – so there will be one less when I leave. If you join in with the hashtags you can track them on social media to see if they’ve been found, when and by whom – it’s all part of the fun!
As with hiding – instead of or at the same time – go out for a walk. If you’ve joined a group you may have an idea of where some have been hidden recently.
It’s worth discussing before you go though whether you intend to keep or re-hide your finds – and as my Bean almost always wants to keep everything, it may be worth setting a limit on the number kept and/or how long for. E.g. “You can keep one today, and next time you have to choose one from your collection to re-hide.”
I’ve found that if I promise to (and actually do) take pictures of finds, it helps smooth things over if needed.
You may not always find the rocks you’re looking for of course, but you will see something and it gives you an opportunity to talk about what you see – animals, insects, birds, trees and flowers, the seasons, engineering, history etc. etc.
Add this to the list of activities you keep up your sleeve for those weekends or afternoons together. It’s a cheap if not free activity depending on what you already have, is great for bonding and as noted above can be a great educational activity too.
So – what are you waiting for? Go hunt rocks!